Gorenberg, senior editor at The Jerusalem Report, calls the Temple Mount – that site in Jerusalem where two Jewish Temples once stood and where two principal Islamic sanctities now stand (the Dome of the Mosque and Al-Aqsa Mosque) – "the most contested piece of real estate on earth." If that were not enough, he argues that this ancient man-made hill, thirty-five acres in size, has a potentially huge role for "We live in an era of millennial dreams," many of which center on the Temple Mount. His well-written and important book focuses on the Temple Mount's central role for some members of all three main monotheistic faiths in how they understand the future course of the world. While Muslims get their due, he portrays them basically as spectators to a drama whose main actors are Christians and Jews.
At least some Christians of a pre-millennial Dispensationalist outlook would be ready to eradicate the Islamic sanctities atop the Temple Mount on their own, but to their frustration, this is not theirs to do; rebuilding the Temple is for Jews to carry out. All Christians can do is nudge Jews in their preferred direction. Thus does Israel find itself cast, Gorenberg explains, "through no choice of its own, in a starring role in a Christian Endtime drama." Broadly speaking, this means Evangelicals and others support Israel in its conflict with the Arabs, usually with a Likud orientation. But Christian and Jewish radicals alike face the same problem: no Temple can be built so long as Israel permits the Islamic authority effective sovereignty over the Temple Mount. Their solution is simple and sweeping: throw the Muslims out and bring down the two mosques, ignoring their spiritual importance, beauty, and historical significance – or the political danger involved in this step.
And Muslims? They watch with great wariness this potential cooperation between Jews and Christians to pull down Al-Haram ash-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary) atop the Temple Mount, in the process also getting swept up in millennial fevers. In a startlingly un-Islamic vision, they see the creation of Israel beginning a clock that is moving the world toward (take your pick) the triumph of Islam, the destruction of Israel, or the end of the world.
The Temple Mount is, in short, a disaster waiting to happen; "it is all too possible that someone, today anonymous, will try to ignite [a catastrophe] at the Mount." Walls and buildings that date back to antiquity are flimsy man-made creations that could easily be blown up, burnt, or otherwise damaged by a small band of religious zealots.